I managed to drop by the Irish Embassy pub for a little pre-mesh get together the other night. In case you haven’t heard, Mesh was this little ‘unconference’ that a bunch of guys organized with zero advertising but still sold out the joint through word of mouth marketing (read: blogs). For a recap of the last Mesh conference, check it out this article.
Despite it being a weekday, there was a full complement of Toronto’s digerati. Whether it was bloggers, podcasters, journalists, students, pr consultants, agency side or client side folks, all the major groups were in the house. I met some pretty cool folks.
One conversation that stuck out in my mind was with Chris Clarke aka. Magnum PR and Matthew Ingram, who is one of the MESH organizers and writer for some newspaper. It was interesting speaking to Matthew and getting his perspective on things. Rather than being a pure capitalist and driving up the cost of this next conference, the organizers are deliberately trying to keep the costs reasonable so the next Mesh is still accessible to everyone rather than just some middle-management retreads who couldn’t give a fig about the web, much less web 2.0. Although that wasn’t an issue last year as they actually turned away people at the door because they didn’t want to violate fire code regulations.
I was also impressed with Matthew’s perspective that they wanted to make Mesh 2.1 accessible to as many students as possible again because they are the future of this online industry. Makes sense as we are experiencing an acute shortage of qualified people that doesn’t appear to be getting better anytime soon.
So you could say it was quite the lovely evening. What was also very cool was that it was the open-invitation. None of the snotty, you need to RSVP or be some big shot. The only possible downside of the night was Stuart MacDonald taking some good natured shots at my company. But as he’s one of the organizers and more importantly a friend, I’m willing to take the grief. Since Mesh tickets will probably be a very hot commodity in May 2007, I might even buy them en masse and start selling them for a premium on eBay. Call it Scalping 2.0 perhaps.